Iowa State Fair to go cashless in 2014

Photo from Iowa State Fair website

Photo from Iowa State Fair website

The Iowa State Fair will move to a system using tickets – not cash – to pay for attractions, food and drinks at the 2014 fair.

Details still need to be finalized, but initial information about the decision to move from cash to tickets was announced online Tuesday, January 7, 2014.

Fair organizers say the new system is aimed at giving more convenience and security to fairgoers and vendors by eliminating the theft risk associated with large amounts of cash, and by eliminating time vendors spend counting cash and making the money secure.  It also is expected to eliminate time vendors spend making change, and time customers spend waiting for change.

Fairgoers will be able to purchase tickets in advance online or in person at 150 locations throughout the fairgrounds, and the tickets will have no expiration date so any unused tickets can be saved and used the next year.

Tickets will be sold in 50-cent increments.  They can be purchased with a debit or credit card, according to a report in the Des Moines Register.

“The tickets will be valid for food, beverage and attraction purchases groundswide and will be accepted everywhere except the Midway,” according to an post announcing the change on the Iowa State Fair Facebook page.

Not everyone is happy about the change.

“As the Iowa State Fair serves as a summer highlight and annual tradition for many Fairgoing families, it is understandable that changes and improvements may cause Fairgoers some apprehension,” the state fair announcement said.

Several respondents said the new system was likely to reduce impulse purchases.  Some expressed frustration with feeling as if they now have to estimate how much they will spend, concerned that they would over-purchase and be unable to redeem unused tickets or under-purchase and discover that while in line to buy food.

One responder said, “I think it is not a good idea at all. Do you really think people will stand in a line to get a ticket to stand in another line to make a purchase?”

Some have even announced they won’t go to the fair because of the change.

What do you think of using tickets instead of cash at a fair?  Tell us in the poll below.


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